Anyone who bashes “kids these days” for their supposed faults and flaws (all bunk, by the way – kids are smarter and better than ever) didn’t watch yesterday’s “March for Our Lives” protest in Washington, D.C.
All I could say is “Wow.” Kid after kid, young adult after young adult, took to the stage in front of what can only be called a throng – my fervent hope is it was more than Trump’s inauguration – and spoke passionately and intelligently about the definitive issue of their time.
Amazing. Can you imagine how nervous you’d be talking to that many people? One girl, my god, she was 11. When I was 11, I was too busy digging random holes or climbing random trees with my random friends to know or care about Vietnam, which was the issue of my day.
And yet this little sprig of a girl – her name is Naomi Wadler and she’s a grade-schooler, for gosh sakes, from Virginia – positively nailed it.
Where do kids so young get the poise?
What I loved the most was how mature their thoughts were. These were not just kids simply gushing emotion or grief. They spoke intelligently but fiercely. (I’m a big fan of fierce.) You could feel their impatience with the adults of this country who refuse to protect them all so gun nuts can indulge their war fantasies. You could feel their determination and their resolve: If grown-ups aren’t going to do it, they said, we’ll do it ourselves. Enough is enough.
Naomi said, and I love this, “My friends and I might still be 11 and we might still be in elementary school, but we know, we know life isn’t equal for everyone and we know what is right and wrong,. We also know that we stand in the shadow of the Capitol, and we know that we have seven short years until we too have the right to vote.”
If you’re an adult who has valued your AR-15 over the lives of the people slaughtered by them, her words should shame you. When she speaks of right and wrong, she’s pointing a finger directly at you. And if you don’t see that and act on it, you’re on the wrong side of history. Plus, you’re a shameful human being. (Had to be said.)
And if you’re a Republican politician and you don’t hear her words as a warning, you’re an idiot. By refusing to budge on guns, you’re alienating an entire generation. They’re not likely to forget or ever warm to a party that values the money it receives from the NRA more than life itself.
For this generation, the line has finally been crossed. Adults – my generation – haven’t bothered to lead.
So now they will.
Go get ‘em, kids. A lot of we supposed grown-ups are with you.
Two postscripts to this column:
- Here’s the NRA’s official statement on the march: “Today’s protests aren’t spontaneous. Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones.” These are some sad, sick people. It really comes down to this: Kids are protesting gun murders. The NRA is fighting to protect their “right” to use war weapons. Now you tell me which side is nobler.
- Where the hell was President Trump? A few weeks ago, he claimed to care about the issue. And yet he jumped on his jet and got the hell out of Washington instead of speaking at the march, as I like to imagine any president would. The man is without a soul.
Image credit: YouTube screen capture